Monday, March 30, 2009

WOW Wallpaper!!

Back in February I wallpapered an accent wall in the bedroom with Seabrook Designs Silhouettes wallpaper. Although it's been done for more than a month, it still puts a smile on my face every time I walk in the room - now that's a sign of a job well done!!



The wallpaper creates a beautiful backdrop for the focal wall.

Many people are concerned that if they put up wallpaper, it will be difficult to take it down when they want a change. But wallpaper has evolved, and now it's easier to take down than it is to put up. Several companies offer "paste the wall" products instead of pasting the paper - this method involves using a paint roller to apply paste to the wall and then sliding the paper into position. If wallpaper is applied using this method, it can later be removed by with a simple "lift & peel".

You can transform the look of any room by papering just one accent wall - be prepared to commit 3 or 4 hours to the project from start to finish. Check out all of these amazing wallpaper options:

From Ferm Living:

Ribbed, Turquoise & Gold


These suitcases are a wall decal - even EASIER!!

From Graham & Brown:

Drama, Boheme (Chocolate)

Umbra, Fracto (Shoot)

Linda Barker, Tempting (Slate)

Mode, Darcy (Pearl)

Flock Effect, Elizabeth (Turquoise)

Barbara Hulanicki, Hula (Charcoal/Gold)

From Osborne & Little:

Folia, Clarendon

Pompadour, Du Barry

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Design Details: Upholstered Ottomans

I feel like I have two careers: My weekday job and my weekend job. The only problem is that my weekend position is strictly volunteer at this point - but it's the career that I would really love to have!! This past Saturday my friend Jackie and I spent time working on her living room ottoman/coffee table, which is going to look great when it's done. You'll be amazed at the before & after transformation - but you'll have to wait a few more weeks before seeing the completed project.

In the meantime, here are some great ready-to-go ottoman options. Available in many, many styles & fabrics, there's an ottoman for everyone:

Simple, Clean & Modern
West Elm, Logan $429 USD

Traditional Skirted
Pottery Barn, Charleston $449 USD

Modern & Great for Kids
Ikea Stockholm, $299 CDN

Raised & Round
Thomasville, Halo

Tufted & Traditional
Sarah Richardson Design, Chelsea

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Why do some bookcases look fabulous and others just look disheveled? Well, I can give you several one word answers: Balance. Reflection. Variation. Contrast.

I recently mentioned that the addition of a compote dish full of marbles led me to restyle my bookcase. Here's the photo:

Organized bookcases are an ideal way to display not only books & magazines, but also photographs, artwork & collectible items. I styled my bookcase by starting in the middle and working my way out, treating the center divider as if it were a mirror.

Balance & Reflection
The linen boxes and ceramic flowers pictured here represent an exact reflection from one side to the other. The use of framed photos on both sides also creates balance, due to their similarity. Notice the repetition again on the bottom shelf with the upright magazine holders.

Variation of height, variation of orientation, variation of shape. To achieve a varied look, some of the openings are full to the top of the space, while others are only half full. Some books & magazines are stacked vertically and some horizontally. Round objects sit atop square items. These variations draw the eye through the display.

There are several different elements within the bookcase which provide contrast. The linen covered boxes, the ceramic figures, the metal photo frames and the marble lotus flower. This mix of elements creates visual interest.

With these basic styling tips, you can organize your bookcase like a pro!!

Here are some other examples of well styled bookcases:

Monday, March 23, 2009

Save the Date

Excuse me, everyone, may I have your attention please!?! Please mark your calendars for the following date:

Tuesday March 31 at 9pm ET/PT on HGTV

World Broadcast Premiere

Photo courtesy of HGTV

Get out the bug spray! Sarah Richardson tackles the renovation of her own weekend getaway on Sarah's Cottage. Most known for her city-centric solutions on Sarah's House, design inc. and Room Service, Sarah bobs her way through the renovation of her own off the grid stress-buster on an island 17 miles off shore. Over the course of six half-hour episodes, Sarah and crew brave everything from the season's first ice to shipping issues and black-fly season to help you make your cherished getaway the nirvana you're after.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ireland Park

Today I took a stroll along the waterfront for a breath of fresh air. Along the way, I stumbled upon a new discovery at the foot of Bathurst Street: Ireland Park. I thought the timing was ironic, considering St. Patrick's Day was just this past Tuesday.

Ireland Park is dedicated to the 38,000 Irish immigrants who arrived in Toronto during the summer of 1847, as they fled the famine in their homeland. The sculptor, Rowan Gillespie, has created "The Arrival" here in Toronto, as the North American counterpart to his work in Ireland, "Departure".

The Arrival

The Jubilant Man

Pregnant Woman
(The Apprehensive Man behind)

The Orphan Boy

The rock forming the craggy wall was lifted from limestone beds in the hills of Kilkenny.

More than 1,100 Irish immigrants died upon arrival in Toronto. Of those, 675 names are known, and have been engraved in the crevasses of the limestone wall.

To find out more about Ireland Park, visit the website:

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Toronto Garden Tour

The Toronto landscape may seem to "outsiders" as though it's entirely made of steel & glass structures, but we have our fair share of green space. After being snuggled up inside for the winter months, I am looking forward to getting outside again and visiting some of the wonderful parks and gardens sprinkled throughout the city.

Here are my top 5 gardens to visit this spring & summer:

Allan Gardens
19 Horticultural Avenue

High Park
1873 Bloor Street West

Edwards Gardens
777 Lawrence Avenue East

Toronto Music Garden
475 Queen's Quay West

1 Austin Terrace

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


With spring on the horizon (although today it feels as though it has already arrived), our thoughts turn to the sight and scent of fresh spring flowers. Simply perfection.

Photo courtesy of Joydeep Sen Sarma

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Fabric, Fabric, Fabric

What a difference fabric makes in our homes. Consider how your space would look and feel if all the wonderful textiles were removed - your home would be a lifeless, naked shell. The abundance of fabric in our lives is a testament to our love for beautifully woven threads - silks, linens, cottons, and even polyester.

This past Saturday, my friend Jackie and I spent a few hours in one of our favourite stores - Designer Fabric on Queen West. We were like kids in a candy store, searching for the perfect colour, texture and pattern.

We are (finally) working on several projects for Jackie's home now that the draperies for my condo have finally been completed. For those of you who have been waiting, here are photos of the completed living room curtains:

My next project, as you know, is to reupholster the occasional chair I found this week, and I need to purchase 3 yards of fabric to do the job. I found several options, and although my first idea was to use a stripe, I am considering many other possibilities:

Option #1 is a robin's egg blue with chocolate dots,
(no content info), $20.99/yd:


Option #2 is a white, robin's egg blue & beige combination,
(55% viscose/45% polyester), $41.99/yd:


Option #3 is a plush robin's egg blue swirl,
(100% microfibre face with 65% polyester/35% cotton backing), $14.99/yd:

Your opinions and comments are welcome - tell me what you think!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

More Real Estate Dreaming

I enjoy browsing real estate websites in my spare time, and I know I'm not the only one that does this! Of particular interest are homes in Port Hope and Peterborough, and just for fun, apartments in New York City.

I just found a real gem on Manhattan's Upper East Side, listed on

Approximately 1,100 square feet
Asking $559,000
That's $508.18 per square foot
Maintenance $1,359/month

Now before you start calling the loony bin to see if there's a room available for me, compare this suite currently on the market across the courtyard from my place here in Toronto:

1,032 square feet
Asking $550,000
That's $532.95 per square foot
Maintenance $430.23/month

The real estate market is not that far apart these days as a result of softening prices in the United States. If not for the elevated maintenance fees in Manhattan, these two units would be equally affordable. But consider this...the New York apartment is 3 blocks away from The Met and Central Park, 8 blocks from The Guggenheim, and right around the corner from EVERYTHING ELSE!!

Now then, let's get down to details. How do I plan to purchase this apartment? Fingers crossed!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Coming up Next

Project Elusive Chair is now well under way.

If you'll recall, this is the original chair I had in mind for use as an occasional chair:

And here's the chair I found yesterday on Craigslist:

It's in good shape, it's just the right size, and it's about to undergo a little makeover. I'm currently getting upholstery quotes and considering what fabric to go with. I've already been browsing online for something in a stripe...

Guess where I'll be this Saturday morning? Here's a clue: